The Challenge

How might we engage more people in taking care of the environment?


Plastic Fishing Game

If something is fun, people are usually willing to try it.

Using play as an incentive, this project aimed to connect people with the problem of plastic pollution and encourage pedestrians to try and clean up our environment.

In older cities,canals were once primary modes of transportation, now water collects discarded plastic. The Waterside Gobbler is a concept to enable visitors of urban canals, the opportunity to fish out plastic, before it  travels downstream into rivers, oceans, and the wider ecosystem.

Project Focus

Research Highlights

The challenge of plastic pollution in our ecosystems is overwhelmingly large, distant, and complex.

To better understand the landscape, I mapped current projects tackling the problem.

Improvised public waste "bins"

User Observations

Throughout this project, I observed how we use (or don’t use) bins. Three types of behavior caught my eye and generated a few questions that have potential improve  our sanitation systems:

Compensatory Bin-behavior

Similar to the phenomenon of “desire paths” found in nature, Informal collection points can signal to sanitation companies the ideal locations for new bins.

How might managers of public space take advantage of this collective behavior?

Heroes Among Us

Some individuals have been seen going out of their way to try and help by taking action and fishing out plastic from the environment.

How might this behavior be encouraged?

Labeled & Confused

Often people can be seen glancing between their garbage and multiple bins. After a few moments of hesitation, the person gives up, tosses their item, and moves on.

How might packages make it easier to separate materials? How might bins make it easier to identify what items belong inside?

Process Highlights

Sketching and development of the Waterside Gobbler

Project Summary

Year: 2019


Created prototypes for a plastic fishing game that engaged wide range of ages, Established partnerships with key stakeholders across all levels of the sanitation system, and generated positive support from city officials in London and Amsterdam

The Waterside Gobbler was on display during Dutch Design Week 2019.



  • Problem Analysis
  • User Research & Testing
  • Sketching
  • 3D Modeling
  • Fabrication & CMF
  • Prototyping
    (Metal, Wood, Plastic)


  • Comprehensive "state-of-the-art" study of existing recycling solutions
  • System level map to identify intervention opportunities
  • Multiple functional prototypes
  • Developed design within constraints for public safety standards
  • Conducted field observations and user testing